The Exiles

The Exiles

A Novel

Book - 2020
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Seduced by her employer's son, Evangeline, a naïve young governess in early nineteenth-century London, is discharged when her pregnancy is discovered and sent to the notorious Newgate Prison. After months in the fetid, overcrowded jail, she learns she is sentenced to "the land beyond the seas," Van Diemen's Land, a penal colony in Australia. Though uncertain of what awaits, Evangeline knows one thing: the child she carries will be born on the months-long voyage to this distant land. During the journey on a repurposed slave ship, the Medea, Evangeline strikes up a friendship with Hazel, a girl little older than her former pupils who was sentenced to seven years transport for stealing a silver spoon. Canny where Evangeline is guileless, Hazel -- a skilled midwife and herbalist -- is soon offering home remedies to both prisoners and sailors in return for a variety of favors. Though Australia has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 50,000 years, the British government in the 1840s considers its fledgling colony uninhabited and unsettled, and views the natives as an unpleasant nuisance. By the time the Medea arrives, many of them have been forcibly relocated, their land seized by white colonists. One of these relocated people is Mathinna, the orphaned daughter of the Chief of the Lowreenne tribe, who has been adopted by the new governor of Van Diemen's Land. In this gorgeous novel, Christina Baker Kline brilliantly recreates the beginnings of a new society in a beautiful and challenging land, telling the story of Australia from a fresh perspective, through the experiences of Evangeline, Hazel, and Mathinna. While life in Australia is punishing and often brutally unfair, it is also, for some, an opportunity: for redemption, for a new way of life, for unimagined freedom.
Publisher: New York : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, [2020]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2020
ISBN: 9780062356345
Characteristics: 371 pages : color map ; 24 cm


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Release Date: August

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Sep 15, 2020

It was interesting to read a historical fiction book about Australia. My reading about the history of Australia has been limited. However, the storyline was disjointed in my opinion. For that reason, I rated it a four star read.

Sep 11, 2020

The author is a very talented storyteller and even if the plot was cousu de fil blanc and predictable, the historical elements are well researched and the characters well developed.
Historical fiction at its best , very evocative of the times .

Sep 06, 2020

I loved this book and all of Kline's work.

Aug 31, 2020

This book has an interesting premise and is well written but turned out to be rather bleak. Set in 1840 Australia when England was forcibly removing the Aborigines while also sending over ships full of convicts, it follows 2 female convicts and a young indigenous girl. Reading the book flap that called this a gorgeous novel about the beginnings of a new society in a beautiful and challenging land, I imagined the convicts starting a new life on a homestead in the Outback. Not so. All three of the characters face cruelty, brutality, and hardship in prison, on a prison ship, and in a ugly little town. It was interesting enough to keep me turning the pages, but this is definitely not a feel-good story.

Aug 25, 2020

I really liked following the experience of a female convict at this time in history when Britain was sending convicts to a penal colony in Australia. The whole book was an interesting and informing snap shot of a time and place in history. I also thought the pacing was good. The book moved along nicely but never felt rushed. This is an easy book to recommend and a nice WWII break for fans of historical fiction.

Aug 25, 2020

I’ve been a fan of Christina Baker Kline’s Orphan Train. She doesn’t disappoint in her new book which looks at Australia through the eyes of thee women who were all forced to leave their homes by the British. First there is young aboriginal who is made into a “pet” by a local governor’s wife who wants to see if the aboriginals could be domesticated. The other two are a naïve British governess who believes the son of her employer when he says he loves her, only to find herself convicted for the theft of a ring he gave her and loaded on a transport ship to Australia. The third is a Scottish girl who stole a silver spoon and is transported to Australia. Kline makes great use of her research in telling their stories. While there is sadness and horror, there is also hope in the story of the women brought by transport and forced to help settle a new country. Yet, Kline, makes clear in the story of the aboriginal chief’s daughters, great damage was done by English interference. In the audiobook, the narrator, Caroline Lee, does great justice to the voices of the three women.

JCLBetM Aug 17, 2020

A book that met my expectations of interest, but every time I thought I knew where the story was going, I was surprised. The general story--of British female prisoners being shipped to Australia--is one I know of historically, but haven't read any novels about; and to delve into an array of theirs experiences was fascinating as well as heartbreaking. But this book doesn't only tell the tale of those who were sent to Australia; it also shines a light on how the British treated the native population, as well--introducing you to one young girl's fate at the hands of a wealthy immigrant family. While I'm not always a fan of back-and-forth story lines, the way these different perspectives wove together created a piercing overview of what happens when people aren't valued as people, whoever they may be. The author brought these characters to life in such a way, that I have to remind myself they're not actually a part of history.

DCLadults Aug 07, 2020

A New & Noteworthy staff pick 2020. A NYT bestselling author writes a fascinating historical novel about the women convicts sent to Australia from England in the 1860s. If you read historical fiction for a great story and deep research, this is one to read.


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